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FOR THOSE WHO WOULD LEARN TO INTERPRET
LITERATURE SILENTLY OR THROUGH
THE MEDIUM OF THE VOICE
The University of Chicago
book of Best Readings,” etc.
This book is planned for use in High Schools, Normal Schools, and as a foundation for advanced classes in Colleges; but particularly have I had in mind the needs of the teacher of English who has v had no special training or preparation in vocal expression. Elocution, problems of voice culture, gesture, and articulation are not touched on, because there are a number of excellent treatises available for the professional teacher; and the non-professional teacher is more likely to be harmed than helped by them. Training in voice and gesture cannot be got out of books, nor from correspondence courses.
The teacher of English can use this book in class with no other training than that derived from the study of literature which study must always be an inseparable part of the training in vocal expression; and with no other purpose (what higher can there be?) than to give the students such an insight into the meaning and beauty of literature that the vocal interpretation of it will be a simple, unaffected, intelligent, pleasurable illumination of the text.
The teacher of elocution will, I hope, find in these pages a sound and rational text-book whose lessons can be supplemented by such other instruction as conditions demand. The principles herein presented are basic, I believe, to any method. The method here presented is the first in the realm
of pedagogy that recognizes practically as well as theoretically—what no one of course denies—that thought getting must be the basis of vocal interpretation. I am certain that what explains the poor, inadequate vocal expression in our schools is not lack of technical exercises, but lack of ability to interpret the printed page; and I am almost as certain that the absence of interest in literature, and the mediocrity of results in political economy, history, etc., are very largely due to lack of interest in, growing out of inability to grapple with, the printed page. I have therefore had constantly in mind in preparing this book not only those who want to read aloud, but every person who wishes to get more knowledge and more enjoyment from the printed page. There are hundreds who are interested in increasing their ability to interpret the printed page to tens who want to learn to read aloud; and the method here presented will help the hundreds as well as the tens.
I am under great obligation to Miss Jessie L. Newlin, of University College, of the University of Chicago, for numerous suggestions in connection with the general plan of the book, and particularly for valuable assistance rendered in gathering and selecting the illustrative material.